Hospital’s safety rating improves


Nash UNC Health Care patient Jake Arnold, right, talks with cardiologists Dr. Maitreya Thakkar, center, and Dr. Michael Yeung on Thursday at the Nash Heart Center.


Staff Writer

Friday, November 3, 2017

Nash UNC Health Care received good news on its latest biannual Leapfrog safety grade, though the news was not as good as it wanted.

The hospital returned to a C safety rating for the fall rankings after dropping to a D rating in the spring. This score brings the hospital back to the same C rating it has earned on every other report card since 2014.

By comparison, Vidant Edgecombe Hospital in Tarboro scored a B rating this fall as did Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, WakeMed in Raleigh, Duke Regional Hospital in Durham and Wilson Medical Center. The University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill earned an A rating in the fall scoring.

Ian Buchannan, interim CEO of Nash UNC Health Care, said the hospital is pleased to see the score improve but will not be satisfied with the result until they earn an A rating.

“If I went home with a C on my report card, my momma would have whupped my behind,” Buchanan said Thursday during a meeting of the hospital board. “That’s kind of what we feel here. A C is better than a D, but its not where we want to be.”

Buchanan said the report reflects old data from up to three years in the past.

“We have been expecting these scores, as these ratings represent performance based on old data that has already been studied in great detail. Given the long lag time between measured performance and public reporting, the improvement plans we implemented earlier this year will not show significant changes in ratings for one to two years, and it will be as long as three years before all the old data has dropped off. Despite the long lag time, we monitor our performance internally on a daily basis and are seeing strong improvements,” Buchanan said.

The hospital reports strongest improvement in the reduction of sepsis and the improved mortality rates for strokes and heart attacks at the hospital. Nash UNC Health Care is performing better than average on these last two measures, Dr. David Gorby, vice president of quality control, told the board Thursday.

At an earlier meeting before the data was released to the public this week, Buchannan said the hospital is committed to providing high quality care and the public should not be concerned with the hospital rating.

“We support transparency and developing meaningful and useful measures to assist the public in making health care choices. However, patients and their families shouldn’t rely on any single rating or score when making decisions. These reports are designed to be one tool for measuring hospitals’ overall quality of care, but have several important limitations,” Buchanan said.

In addition to the lagging time frame for data, Buchanan said the report does not take into account other factors that can contribute to the result.

“Outcome measures do not take into account socio-economic status of the communities we serve, which is often a key factor in measures focused on excess re-admissions. That said, we are of course disappointed with these ratings, but believe that we continue to make improvements that will enhance the quality of care we provide patients every day,” Buchanan said.

To view the complete dashboard of information available in the report, go to  http://bit.ly/2iWysyM.